The Green Bay Packers remain short a true No. 1 wide receiver, but developments elsewhere in the NFC may provide them an opportunity to trade for one.
The Seattle Seahawks are a team in transition with little reason to break the bank for Pro Bowl wideout DK Metcalf. The franchise finished dead last in the NFC West in 2021, then chose to trade quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos during the offseason — a move that indicates a full rebuild rather than a win-now approach.
Metcalf has already chosen to skip Seattle’s mandatory minicamp, which ended June 9. As a former second-round pick, he will be forced to play on the same NFL-standard tender recently signed by Allen Lazard in Green Bay — unless he can work out a new contract with the Seahawks. While it is unlikely Metcalf has a pathway to more than the $3.98 million he is scheduled to make in 2022, it is the lack of a long-term extension beyond this season that has the receiver miffed enough to skip out on team activities.
While Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has said publicly the team is interested in reaching an agreement with Metcalf, he also admitted to NFL Network’s Grant Gordon that it is paramount the organization gets a deal done with the wide receiver in the “crucial weeks” ahead, before training camp begins in July.
“These are crucial weeks to get something done,” Carroll told Gordon. “We’ll see what happens, and hope that we can work something out. We really intended to get that done.”
If nothing can get done, though, Alex Kay of Bleacher Report suggested that the Packers swoop in with an offer of significant draft compensation in exchange for Metcalf because their cupboard remains relatively bare at the top end of the position.
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Seattle Is Team in Transition Without Clear Place for Metcalf’s Talent
Even if Seattle can bring Metcalf back, who will throw him the ball?
With Wilson gone, the Seahawks’ top two quarterbacks are currently Geno Smith and Drew Lock. Discussions about a trade with the Cleveland Browns for quarterback Baker Mayfield have been rumored for months, but that front has been quiet now for several weeks.
If Seattle, a team that chose not to draft a quarterback in 2022, is transitioning to a run-first offense, it doesn’t make sense to have two highly paid wide receivers eating up the cap room of a franchise that isn’t going to contend in one of the toughest divisions in football anyway. Tyler Lockett is already under contract at more than $17 million annually, which might make Metcalf more expendable, particularly considering how much money the Seahawks will likely have to pay to keep him happy.
Receivers Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill signed deals this offseason that set the market for top wideouts at between $28 million and $30 million annually, figures Metcalf is likely to push for in his negotiations with whatever team ends up signing him long-term.
Kay urged the Packers make a play for Metcalf now so as to provide Rodgers with a true top target and take advantage of a situation in Seattle that doesn’t appear to have a logical answer.
The Green Bay Packers should be one of the interested parties.
After signing Aaron Rodgers to a blockbuster $150 million extension that will keep him in Titletown for the next three seasons, Green Bay needs to augment the aging quarterback with a high-end weapon to keep the club contending in that window.
Flipping a pair of early draft picks — the Packers hold their own selections in the first five rounds — may be enough to pry Metcalf away from Seattle.
Packers’ Best Option at Wideout Is Currently Allen Lazard
The aforementioned Lazard is probably the best wideout the Packers currently have in-house, considering his recent production, age and familiarity with two-time reigning MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Green Bay added Sammy Watkins, most recently of the Baltimore Ravens, in free agency and traded up to select Christian Watson out of North Dakota State University early in the second round of this year’s draft. Neither has much of a case as the Packers’ prospective No. 1 wideout unless Watson makes massive strides over the next few months. He has recently struggled with dropped passes in practice.
With veteran Randall Cobb rounding out the top end of Green Bay’s wide receiver room, Lazard seems to be the only real choice to fill the role vacated by Adams after the team traded him to the Las Vegas Raiders in March.
Rodgers intimated that Lazard could be his potential top target heading into the regular season in September.
“Excited about Allen Lazard,” Rodgers told reporters June 7. “He’s been our dirty work guy for most of his career here. Now he’s getting an opportunity to be a No. 1 receiver. So, I’m not worried at all about him stepping into that role. I talk to him a lot. I know how he takes care of his body. I know he’ll be ready when he’s here.”
While there is no reason to believe Rodgers’ words weren’t genuine, there is reason to question whether Lazard can be the player his quarterback described. Lazard posted career high totals across the board last season, making 40 catches for 513 yards and scoring eight touchdowns, per Pro Football Reference.
More volume means better numbers for Lazard, but it doesn’t mean more talent or more efficiency. He has been considered a third option his entire career, and the reasons for that won’t change overnight.